Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reader response

This from a reader whose writing and thinking I have long admired.

So I've been reading your blog for a while, and thinking about the questions you ask there for even longer. I don't have any answers for you, sorry.

I do have the gnawing fear, from time to time, that the entire universe is the exact size and shape of the inside of my skull. Thinking about existence and meaning and purpose is all I can do about it, but I haven't found it particularly helpful because then I'm just employing my mind to explore my mind, and knowing the floorplan of the prison isn't the same as being free.

I'd like to say that connections like those you mention on your blog offer a path out of ourselves, and maybe they do, for a moment. So do literature and cinema and booze and fornicating and improv. And, yeah, advertising. They're all emancipating and exhilarating and inadequate. Because, and I'm really not trying to be morose or emo or whatever here, because it seems like behind all of those attempts to connect, even the ones motivated by joy and virtue and the better things that fill our hearts, behind all of those attempts to connect is the desperate need to connect, the urge, and it seems like that urge can never be truly discharged. And even diagnosing that urge in yourself and sympathizing with it in others doesn't really close the gap. We can't even connect about our need to connect.

Here's a photo of the reader from W+K's 25th Anniversary book.


Anonymous said...

I have been thinking about the questions a lot too but I felt they were an invitation to see how we can evolve in a way where real connection leads to a genuine sense of purpose. I think the need to connect is just a symptom of human nature and its really the only way we have to propel the species forward. What else is there really?

The thing is our culture has put up too many barriers so we have to work at it and it can seem nearly impossible – so many dead ends. And then there are those moments – the trucker flashing his lights, the guy on the bus, the shared glee of a snowy day that are real and genuine, and at the risk of sounding too dramatic, touch your soul. Terence McKenna, one of my heroes, said, “The future of communication is the future of the evolution of the human soul.” That’s what I’m after. The universe is in our heads and it is vast and when we connect it is magic.


Dave Allen said...

Thinking about "connections" earlier this year I wrote the following:
To understand and embrace social networking is to place the idea that says “technology makes this possible” to one side and embrace the idea of the basic human need to stay in touch with other like-minded people at all times. As Clay Shirky says “The desire to be part of a group that shares, cooperates, or acts in concert is a basic human instinct.” Think about rock concerts for a minute…..

Most people that take a position on social networking and advertising come at it from a technological point of view, as in “technology has created the means for everyone to be connected and to stay in touch.” I disagree with that statement because it removes nature from the game. It is entirely natural for humans to want to interact as often as possible as we are all social animals. Cities are no more artificial (technological) than the hives of bees. Therefore the Internet is as natural as a spider’s web. People who believe that technology is driving our interactions are missing the point - we ourselves are technological devices, invented by ancient bacterial communities as a means of genetic survival. Bottom line - social media is as natural as apple pie as we all want to be as connected as possible - we can’t help it.